Dateline Northampton, Dec. 31, 1930

Concluding his first half year as a daily columnist, Calvin Coolidge dispatched the following words of wisdom on Dec. 31, 1930 – almost exactly 80 years ago. Some of them are dated, but then some retain their value and pertinence today:

The year 1930 has been a sharp reminder that men cannot escape from the command that they shall earn their bread by the sweat of their brow. We cannot for long reap when we have not sown. We cannot hold what we do not pay for. The law of service cannot be evaded or repealed. Nor is it yet in the power of man under any system of government he can adopt or any organization of society he can form to make this a perfect world.

But the ability to make the best of things, to secure progress, to learn from adversity is not to be disparaged or ignored. The creative energy of nature is not diminished but increased by the fallow season. Mankind requires a time for taking stock, for recuperation, for gathering energy for the next advance.

That is the significance of the new year. We take a new inventory to see what we have, we take new bearings to see where we are, we correct our conduct by new resolutions. After all due allowance for error and relapse, such a course guarantees improvement. Perhaps the best resolve is to live so that next year new resolutions will be unnecessary.



3 thoughts on “Dateline Northampton, Dec. 31, 1930

  1. Thanks for posting this. However, Kai – I looked in vane for words or thoughts that might be “dated” and – except for the 1930 date – found none.
    Are you familiar with the collection of reminiscences “Meet Calvin Coolidge”? It was edited by Edward Connery Lathem in 1960. I read again Herman Beaty’s “A Secretary’s View” wherein he describes his year with Coolidge and the process of writing the daily newspaper columns. There is some speculation as to why Coolidge did not choose to continue with it beyond the one year.

    • Jim, thanks for that comment, and, lest I forget, Happy New Year to you! I may have to edit that “dated” line I used. Yes, thanks to Bob Kirby I do have a copy of “Meet Calvin Coolidge”, really a wonderful collection of first hand observations, and I’m familiar with the various explanations for the discontinuation of the column. While not all of the columns bear re-reading today, many do indeed contain words of wisdom.

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